OAKLAND — Let this be a lesson to all the kids out there: Having good manners pays. Just ask Kevin Durant.
After being ejected from Tuesday’s game against the New York Knicks, Durant aired his problems with NBA official James Williams.
“I told him he was wrong, and he went into halftime probably with an attitude. So the second half, his whole thing is like he’s trying to get me,” Durant said Tuesday. “… He was searching for me. He was looking to try to tech me up to get me back because he’s still in his feelings from the first half. That’s what’s been going on around the league the whole year. A bunch of that.”
Durant knew a fine was coming on Thursday. And he changed his tune.
“I looked at the plays and I was being an asshole last night, I was being a jerk,” he said at the Warriors facility after practice. “That one foul at the end wasn’t a foul, I shouldn’t have slammed the ball down like I did. I can go back and say I was being a jerk last night and I deserve whatever the league is going to throw at me. I wish I had handled that better, obviously. But that was kind of heat of the moment for me. I could be better. It was a great learning experience for me though.”
The officials union quickly accepted Durant’s apology.
And on Thursday, the league office rewarded him for admitting he was in the wrong. The NBA announced it had fined Durant $15,000 for publicly criticizing an official.
That seems like a lot — and it objectively is — but not when you consider how the league generally distributes fines.
Earlier this season, Durant’s teammate — Draymond Green — was set back $25,000 for criticizing officials.
He said to the Athletic, “It’s bad. It’s horrible, it’s really bad. I don’t know why it is. But I think it’s ridiculous. It’s ruining the game. … It should be one of, if not the main priority, to be solved. It definitely should.”
Is that $10,000 worse than what Durant said? Debatable.
Another example of how Durant got a discount: When he was a member of the Oklahoma City Thunder in 2013, he dunked on the Warriors and celebrated with a throat-slash gesture. That run him $25,000.
Before Thursday’s game against the Minnesota Timberwolves, Kerr expressed satisfaction with Durant’s actions after slamming Williams.
“I’m proud of him for apologizing and admitting he was wrong,” he said. “… It’s a passionate, heated game. Once the game ends, leave it there. If you have anything to say to the league, don’t do it in the media.
“Now we move on.”
It is amazing what a sincere “I’m sorry” can get you in this world. In Durant’s case, it was roughly $10,000.